Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
1st-term Democrat from New Mexico.
Photo: Senator Heinrich
Bio & Contact Info
Send Message
Key Bills & Votes
Letters To Leaders
· More Letters to
  Sen. Heinrich

· Search All

Letters To Leaders
All messages are published with permission of the sender. The general topic of this message is Guns/Weapons:
Say NO to HB77

Sen. Martin Heinrich

March 14, 2013

Whenever I turn on the news I cannot help but hear the terms “assault weapon” and “assault rifle” being thrown around along with a call for more gun control. These terms are being used improperly to reference common, semi-automatic firearms such as the AR-15. Even though the media and some politicians are trying to demonize these firearms, the truth is rifles like the AR-15 are rarely used in the commission of crimes, and statistically rifles as a whole are used to murder less frequently than blunt objects such as hammers and bats. These firearms may resemble “military style” rifles, but they are most certainly NOT “weapons of war.” In reality they are owned by millions of good, responsible Americans who understand and value their Second Amendment rights. To be clear, the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting, target shooting, or any other sporting use of firearms. The original intent of the Second Amendment is about DEFENSE. This includes the defense of your life and loved ones from criminals, to the defense of your liberty from tyranny. The many enjoyable sporting applications of firearms are simply an added benefit of having our Second Amendment freedoms.

Additionally I have also heard the word “need” used repeatedly in regards to certain semi-automatic firearms and their essential accessories such as magazines. It usually goes something like this: “Why do you need an AR-15 with a 30 round magazine?” The first thing I think of is: When did freedom become about “need?” One can only hope that we never truly NEED any of our firearms for what the Second Amendment is intended. One can only hope that we are not forced to use our firearms to defend Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

This all being said, so-called “assault weapons” bans prohibit the very firearms the Second Amendment was written to protect. A rifle such as the AR-15 is essentially a modern musket. The Framers specifically used the word “arms” in the text of the Second Amendment because they knew firearms would evolve over time with technological advancements, much like modern media has dramatically advanced over the past two centuries. I ask you this: Should our Constitutional rights not apply to technological advancements? Should we also not apply our freedoms to modern practices that weren’t commonplace during the late 18th Century? Obviously the answer to these questions is NO. So why then are the People being asked to give up the right to keep and bear modern muskets?

American gun owners have made plenty of concessions in regards to our Second Amendment rights, for example with the National Firearms Act, The Gun Control Act, and the Firearm Owners Protection Act. In addition, the vast majority of gun owners support efforts to effectively keep firearms out of the hands of bad guys. But so-called “assault weapons” bans that prohibit the right of the People to keep and bear common, semi-automatic firearms such as the AR-15 are not acceptable and go TOO FAR.

I urge you to oppose any and all new legislation relating to the prohibition, registration or restriction of firearms, their essential accessories such as magazines, or ammunition. More laws that infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of millions of good, responsible Americans are not the answer to reducing crime and violence in this country. Instead, focus your efforts on mental health issues, the gang problem in this country, the economy, education, and strict mandatory sentencing for perpetrators that use a firearm in the commission of a crime. You have the power granted by the People you represent to work toward productive solutions while bringing Americans together. Please unite us, please focus on the real issues, and please uphold your sworn oath to support the Constitution. Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response.